Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Morning Sentimonies: What To Do? Part 1 - Offense

Since there hasn’t been much notable going on (and I was running out of quasi-coherent thoughts… it was about to be downgraded to nonsensical ramblings), I thought I would take this opportunity to take a look at the various positions on the Riders and breakdown where we currently stand heading into 2012 and what needs doing. I’ll start today with the offense and do the defense in another post at some point.

Obviously Durant is entrenched in the starter’s role but what is completely up in the air is #2 and #3. Thanks to Ken Miller’s mysterious hatred of Cole Bergquist all we really know about him is that he doesn’t do well when randomly inserted into a game for 2 token plays. Three freakin’ years this guy has been here and that’s all we know!!  I personally think he’s got the skill to earn himself the back-up spot but this is purely based on gut instinct and nothing tangible.

What we need to do: Bring in 2 more QBs to compete for the back-up role. At least one should be someone brand new from down south.

What Taman will likely do: Try and convince Kari Jones to come out of retirement.

Running Backs
When you finish with the 2nd worst run game in CFL, obviously you need to do something. Love Wes Cates but much like Joffrey Reynolds, his best before date has passed. Brandon West has promise but I’m not willing to appoint him the unquestioned starter. We need quality competition, not just appointing by default.

What we need to do: Find some new, young, unsung recruits. Guys like Whitaker, Reid and Boyd were nobodies before they got a chance. We need to find our own gem of an RB. However since I know odds of that happening are slim I will throw out 2 names that I would be very interested in: Daniel Porter and Arkee Whitlock.

What Taman will likely do: One of 2 things… 1) Wes Cates. Four More Years!!! 2) Avon Cobourne (you heard it here first).

Now that Ken Miller is gone, they are the oldest part of our team. That is sad. They showed their age terribly at the end of last season.  Gauthier is passable but only because he is Canadian. Best should be the only one whose spot is locked up. Parenteau does everything well… but snap (which is fairly important part of the centre’s job). Old man Geno may or may not be back for one more. Goodspeed should be an automatic for being replaced. There’s no way we can’t find a younger mediocre at best import tackle for less money than we are wasting on him.

What we need to do: A minimum of 2 and a maximum of 3 of the starters from last year should be changed. I love Geno but guard is the easiest place to insert a young starter and unless Best is going somewhere that’s the most logical place to start. I say let him retire and play politics. I’ve already touched on the need to replace Goodspeed. Also, I would love to see us commit to a young centre (Krausnick-Groh or Hutchins) and let them grow into a long-term anchor (ala O’Day). With Kris Sweet as our OL Coach this is the perfect time to make the switch. We have Groh, Neufeld, Hutchins, Clark, Oldenburg and maybe Brian Heenan… It would be extremely wasteful to not make some use out of at least a couple of them.

What Taman will likely do: 2 words… Status Quo.

Outside of Toronto, I’d say we had one of the weakest set of receivers last year. There was Dressler, Getzlaf and a cameo appearance by Fantuz. Our best passing attacks were when we had 2 impact receivers with Getzlaf serving as a solid #3. Problem is we don’t have that solid #2 impact receiver currently. Fantuz is a crap shoot; Bagg could undoubtedly be that guy but his knee is still unproven; we all thought Koch would be that guy but injury derailed his 2011 season and now we don’t seem in any kind of hurry to re-sign him; Wheelright, Hill, Baker have all shown flashes; I think Freddy Barnes could be something special but so far he’s gotten the Bergquist treatment so we really don’t know.

What we need to do: The free agent market for receivers is slimmer than an anorexic’s waist size so we will have to rely on recruiting (or a trade I suppose). Dead weight like Robinson and Sisco need to be jettisoned (okay Sisco should probably be given at least one more training camp to prove he is not the steaming pile of garbage I think he is). If we can’t re-sign Fantuz, we need another quality non-import option… that means drafting one (such as Shamawd Chambers). We also need to recruit some more import competition for Baker, Wheelright, Hill and Barnes… preferably some of higher quality than Nunn or Fairooz.

What Taman will likely do: Assume that Fantuz will re-sign and Bagg’s knee will be healthy and come up with absolutely no back-up plan reducing us to beg Jason Clermont to un-retire when plans fall through.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Round-Up: Random Quasi Coherent Thoughts

-       Jason Clermont created a furor the other day when he tweeted that he talked to one manager who wanted to lock him in for 3 years. Now had you read the #mobile and #data hashtags you would have known right away that he was talking about his cell phone contract but many didn’t and a mild freak out ensued. It’s a shame that Clermont’s outstanding sense of humour is lost on so many.

-       Jermaine Copeland retired this week and accepted a job as Hamilton’s receivers coach. Love him or hate him… and most hated him, his resume speaks for itself. 15th leading receiver in league history.

-       It’s a sad day for the Argonauts… for one its sad because they lose their best receiver in Copeland. But the fact that Copeland was their best receiver is also very sad. Still not sure why they bothered getting Ricky Ray when they have no one for him to pass to.

-       The Argos also cut Lin-J Shell… for reasons I still don’t really get. I mean yes he was probably making big money, and yes he is 30 but he was one of their best defenders. Not just pretty good. I mean sure he does occasionally take a penalty here and there and spit on people but I’d still take him. Though if he was a Rider, I would insist on calling him by his real name: Wagner Lindsell Shell Jr.

-       Solomon Elimimian has signed a 2 year deal with my Minnesota Vikings reportedly with a $35,000 signing bonus. I figured he would catch on down south. I’d say he has decent chance of sticking. Much like Jerrell Freeman, Elimimian wisely chose a bottom dwelling team to try his luck.

-       The Stamps cut franchise RB Joffrey Reynolds. For the better part of the last five years, Reynolds was the standard for RBs: productive, durable. He was the best. But his best before date came and went at some point in 2010.

-       Lastly there is word that Martell Mallett may be looking to get back into the CFL. His lone season in the CFL he rushed for 1200 yards and was named rookie of the year. Then Wally Buono agreed to release him so he could pursue NFL opportunities with the Eagles, Browns and Giants. Until a knee injury pretty much ended that dream. Obviously Mallett would prefer to return to BC who were gracious enough to let him leave a year early but they seem committed to Harris. If there was a chance I would love to see Mallett in Green and White.

-       I should probably clarify that previous statement. I would love to see the Riders sign Mallett but given his serious knee injury and 3 year absence from the CFL I wouldn’t be willing to pay to high heaven to get him. That said, watch Taman sign him to a 6 figure deal with a ridiculous signing bonus (aka the wrong way to do it)

CFL Ins And Outs

In: WR Eric Deslauriers, DB Etienne Boulay (contract extension) WR Travon Patterson, WR Guy Trent, WR Sidney Stewart, DB Vince Anderson, DB Michael Carter, DB Daryl Townsend, DL Tremaine Johnson, DL Daunte Akra, DL Chris Hodgson, DL Ventrell Jenkins (Free Agent Signing), OL Anthony Barrette, DB Blaine Ruttan, OL Reed Alexander (2011 Draft Pick Signing)
Out: DB Tad Crawford (retired)

In: WR Arland Bruce (contract extension)
Out: LB Solomon Elimimian (signed with Minnesota), WR Paris Jackson, QB Jarious Jackson (released)

Out: Lin-J Shell (released), Jermaine Copeland (retired)

In: WR Fred Stamps (contract extension)

Out: RB Joffrey Reynolds (released)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Morning Sentimonies: We’re Number 4!

Well the results for the 2011 Canadian Blog Awards are in and unfortunately my reign as Canada’s Best Sports Blog has come to an end. I’ve slipped to number 4 overall this year. Though it would be easy to dwell in the disappointment (and blame you the readers for not commandeering more computing devices to vote for me), I will instead choose to focus on the positives. When you consider my sporadic frequency of posting, low quality of grammar and sentence structure, overtly biased methods of reporting and blatant stereotyping it’s a miracle that this blog managed to be named Canada`s Top Sports Blog to begin with. Hell number 4 in Canada is damn impressive given that kind of resume. It`s actually probably a sad reflection on society.

Anywho, I`d like to say that I will try harder in the coming year to improve things and work my way back to Number 1 but you and me both know that`s not really my style (hell Anywho isn`t even a real word). I`ll just keep doing my thing and assume that the awards and accolades will keep coming. Though this year and may start turning this blog into a French/Religious blog as those seem to categories with relatively little competition.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Round-Up: The Good, The Bad And the Just Plain Weird

It’s been a fairly steady week across the CFL and the stories have ranged from good news to bad news and from normal to downright weird.

The Good
-       The release of Ryan Dinwiddie of course! (Yes I am still happy about that)
-       The Riders signed OL Clint Oldenburg. He is an import tackle… I can only hope this will help spell the end of Dan Goodspeed. I would even settle for replacing our crappy, high paid import tackle for a crappy, low paid import tackle. Talent is just a bonus
-       The Riders also signed DL Boo Robinson. He instantly becomes my new favourite Rider. For those of you who don’t know, Media Consultant’s last name is Robinson and I think Boo is the best name ver for a Robinson. I plan on spending the 2012 season yelling “BOOOOOOOOOO Robinson!” … Sometimes I may even do it at the football field.

The Bad
-       Jerrell Freeman signing in Indy. We all knew this was coming but it still sucks to lose a player of his caliber. I actually think he has a good chance of sticking even if it’s just on a practice roster. So I guess if we were going to lose him, losing him to the NFL is easier to swallow. I wish him nothing but the best. Plus given how much Indy’s D sucks, you have to like his odds.
-       Dylan Barker being forced to retire. His back is so messed up that he decided to retire rather than try in vain to force out another season or 2 (ala Jesse Lumsden). It’s a sad story because Barker had tons of talent but now will never get the chance to prove it on the field. At least Barker was smart enough to have a solid back-up plan outside of football.

The Weird
-       Khalif Mitchell. Not sure if you managed to follow his story this off season but it almost boggles the mind. He was a free agent and worked out for a number of NFL teams this offseason. He so impressed the Miami Dolphins that they managed to come to a verbal agreement on a multi-year deal that reportedly included a $20,000 signing bonus and a total of $95,000 guaranteed (obviously with the potential to year tons more). So far things seem pretty good but this is where they start to turn. Mitchell managed to part ways with two separate agents and walk away from the Dolphins’ offer and then work out his own deal with the BC Lions of considerably less money. The whole thing shows about as much business sense as Kodak’s decision to not bother with the digital photography craze.

-       Argos newly hired OC Jon Himebauch leaves the Argos just weeks after signing with them to accept a job at Wake Forest. I totally understand the concept of someone wanting the hell out of Toronto (the place where sports careers go to die) but generally they at least wait to get there before figuring out it sucks.

CFL Ins and Outs

In: LB Derek Domino, OL Mitch Erickson, DB Michael Ricks (free agent signing)
Out: WR Jason Armstead, DL Joe Sykes, DB Jykine Bradley, OL Chris Patrick (released)
By now this is becoming an annual event. Armstead gets cut prior to the season and will get re-signed midseason (most likely by Tillman… again). Now Armstead just needs to get into some kind of altercation with his girlfriend and the cycle will be complete.

In: WR Chris Bauman, LB Jadon Wagner (free agent signing)

In: Casey Creehan (hired as DC)
Out: Dylan Barker (retired)

In: OL Josh Bourke, WR Brandon London, DB Billy Parker, DB Marc-Olivier Brouillette (contract extension)
Out: DC Tim Tibesar (offered DC job at Purdue)

In: OL Angus Reid (returning for 1 more season), DL Khalif Mitchell (contract extension)
Out: DB Tad Kornegay (released)

In: RB Chad Simpson (free agent signing)
Out: Casey Creehan (offered DC in Hamilton)